Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead by Michelle Markel and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Balzer + Bray, 2016. 40 pages.
What It Is: A picture book biography of Hillary Rodham Clinton
What It’s About: Ostensibly a picture book biography of Hillary Rodham Clinton, this book is championing all the noteworthy things Hillary’s accomplished as a girl/woman. Attention is given to Hillary’s childhood, adolescence, college, and professional life.
What Works: The illustrations are *amazing.* Pham did serious research and peoples the backgrounds with key historical figures. Reading the illustration notes at the end is an education in itself! The illustrations, saturated in bold colors, pop and dance off the page. Hillary is a bright spot of red on nearly every page, regardless of her age. The primary colors are prominent throughout, a nice artistic choice to show Hillary’s patriotism (and an interesting change from many of Hillary’s public appearances where she is notably NOT in red or blue).
What Doesn’t Work: The text! There are folks who are wild over this book, but this is propaganda, folks. I think this book will turn away all non-Hillary lovers (particularly Republicans) and win wild acclaim from many Democrats. That might be part of the author’s intent, but it’s not a solid choice for a picture book biography that should present a more balanced view of its subject.
What I Think: This book is worth tracking down as a lesson in phenomenal illustration. That is definitely its strong suit.
What I Recommend: Regardless of your politics, this is an interesting book to examine in terms of propaganda. For younger children, it’s an okay introduction to Hillary herself as it’s young child friendly (short text and vibrant illustrations). But please pare it with a more balanced view. It would be a fine choice for a school or public library to have on hand.